Leading sales teams understand one important rule when it comes to closing a deal. And it has nothing to do with talking a good game or having an outgoing personality. As statistics point out, lead nurturing is one of the essential components of any successful marketing/sales strategy. Companies that excel at this practice—taking the steps to build an ongoing relationship with their prospects—typically generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. But what does that have to do with you and your email marketing campaigns? And what if you’re trying to reach hundreds or thousands of potential customers? Maybe even hundreds of thousands? The opportunity to engage your prospects through a natural progression of email messages are possible through email marketing automation. No heavy lifting required. With this type of automation, known as email drip campaigns, it’s possible to trigger a series of emails that flow to a new subscriber or a current subscriber. As part of an email drip campaign, you can send a pre-written yet highly relevant message to your subscriber based on their actions. For example, a welcome message is an appropriate way to kick things off for a new subscriber. The next email could include another thanks for joining your community along with a discount. As the subscriber becomes more familiar with your brand and your offerings, the email drip campaign can be written to provide more relevant information based on the subscriber’s journey with you—or based on their interactions with your campaign. And they can be scheduled to hit their inbox based on their interests. The alternative to an email campaign could be jarring to a new subscriber. If you sent the same email messages to everyone on your subscriber list, you can run the risk of confusing your newest subscribers—especially if you’re operating in a B2B environment or, perhaps, as part of a nonprofit organization. Your new subscriber may need more basic information than your long-term subscribers—sort of a “getting to know us” experience. Why email drip campaigns? More than likely you are already familiar with email drip campaigns. Perhaps you’ve tried implementing one without much success. Or maybe you don’t think it will be worth the effort to take the extra steps to engage your subscribers in this way. However, like the more traditional lead generation strategies adopted by sales reps, email drip campaigns can produce a significant increase in email opens, click-throughs and, eventually, more sales. Take a look at these recent statistics about the effectiveness of email drip campaigns and other forms of nurturing:
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases. The Annuitas Group
- Organizations that nurture their leads report a 45% boost in their ROI for lead generation compared to those that did not. MarketingSherpa
With personalization at the core of successful email marketing campaigns—delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, email drip campaigns are an effective tool for accomplishing those goals without creating new messages over and over again. One of the clear advantages of an email drip strategy is that you can create the data-based email campaigns upfront and then set it and (sort of) forget it. At least temporarily. Email drip campaigns are designed to flow to the right prospects on autopilot. It’s always a good idea to review performance and tweak, if necessary. But email drip campaigns can give you the boost you’re after without the repetition of work. However, it’s critical that you do invest the work upfront. A thoughtful, carefully executed email drip campaign can continue to produce results long after you have launched it. Tips for effectively nurturing your prospects through email When developing an email drip campaign that works, you need to invest time in some critical groundwork. They include the following.
1. Map the subscriber’s journey.
Get inside the heads of your subscribers, making sure to differentiate your different audience segments. Based on the data you’ve been gathering on them, it’s important to ask some critical questions. What seems to be the commonalities within each segment? Are they frustrated by a challenging aspect of their jobs? Are they more interested in clicking about new fashion trends? Use the data you’re gathering to develop a buyer persona for each of your audience segments. As the Content Marketing Institute points out, it’s important to go beyond the demographics. Thoroughly flesh out your persona as you try to understand their needs and what they’re typically looking for. Some good questions to ask include:
- What would help the subscriber become more successful in their job?
- What specific problems are they facing in their industry?
- What challenges are working parents facing? Teachers? Marketers? CEOs?
- What information do they need before making a purchase?
- What obstacles stand in the way of them effectively performing their roles (personal or professional)?
This is a good time to get a team discussion started to thoroughly explore the many aspects of your buyer personas. It’s key to creating relevant email messages as part of your series.
2. Determine your own goals.
While it’s important to focus on the client and addressing their pains, needs, and desires, you also need to outline your specific goals at each stage of the email drip campaign. If you send a welcome email, how do you want the subscriber to respond? What type of action do you want them to take? Think realistically. You can’t expect a new subscriber to purchase your advanced software platform without understanding the basics. In that instance, a welcome email could simply be focused on building trust in your brand. A fifth email may be designed to get the subscriber to take action by purchasing an item. Make the goals highly specific to your industry. As an online clothing retailer, you may want your subscriber to purchase something from the start. A 20% discount could be the incentive they need to make that purchase. A nonprofit organization may take an entirely different path, nurturing new subscribers by sharing stories about the work they do in their communities. At that point, the goal would be to gain empathy for their cause. The ask for a donation may follow in the second or third email. Along with a visual map of the prospects pains, goals and needs, take the time to visually chart out your goals as part of the process.
3. Create a consistent, genuine tone.
Your brand should already have established a tone for your marketing materials, including email messages. Check to make sure that it’s consistent with the products and solutions you’re offering. While a conversational tone is generally preferred for all email communications, you don’t necessarily need to take a lighthearted tone with subscribers who are facing a lot of challenges performing their jobs—especially in the midst of a lot of change brought on by technological advances. If they want immediate answers to their problems, a funny intro may not be the best route for an email message. On the other hand, retailers who sell sporting goods or fashion clothing can take a more creative approach. And it may be expected. Shopping for non-essentials is typically considered an enjoyable experience. However, conveying a warm and genuine approach is a good way to build a connection with your audiences no matter what industry you’re in.
4. Subscribe to a user-friendly platform.
No matter how dedicated your team may be about starting an email drip campaign, if they’re not working with a user-friendly software platform the enthusiasm may quickly fade. Many well-laid plans have faltered because users considered the platform and the process too difficult to execute or too cumbersome. When selecting email marketing automation, don’t just review the basics. Test drive it to ensure that it is able to grow with your company. It should provide advanced solutions that can be added to your marketing arsenal without a very steep learning curve.
5. Test and compare results.
As with any marketing campaign, you will need to eventually test the outcomes to find out where you can make improvements—or where you can be doing more of the same. You may decide to launch new drip campaigns based on a high unsubscribe rate. There may be strategies you need to implement before subscribers reach that point. Or maybe engagement is dropping off among a certain group of your subscribers. Tweak or overhaul your drip campaigns to better match their needs. Your email marketing software provider should be able to offer suggestions to navigate any challenges with your campaign. With an email drip campaign, you can quickly switch out different messages along the subscriber’s journey to better match their interests as well as help you better reach your goals. Ready to get started? Find out more about email drip campaigns and how they can lift your marketing efforts. Contact our Delivra team for a demo of our user-friendly marketing automation platform. We’ll show you how it works.